Three best ways to instruct children in home school

by Mary Ann on October 13, 2010

Questions come up often about what to put in The Spark Station. There are a number of ways to approach the Spark Station content and instruct children in home school, all acceptable. But let me suggest three ways to do this.


The Martineau Family

1. You can make your Spark Station a colorful explosion of selected toys, books, games, and other materials. When you have structured time your children are free to explore the contents any way they want. If they ask for more information on an item, that is a Spark and then you respond by helping them get more information. For example if you have a gyroscope in your Spark Station and a child asks you how it works and why, you respond by providing  specific materials and projects to answer that question over the next few days or weeks. games closet homeschool books-closet-home-school

home school-resources-stationary

2. You can pick topics that you want your children to engage with or respond to Sparks they have given you by following the pattern I have shown. You do your research and then put materials for learning in your Spark Station based on what you found in the way of information, games, projects and activities.  This can be all that you have in your Spark Station. You may have 2 or more learning topics going at any given time. You would need to add new information, activities and projects for those topics every few days for as long as interest lasts. In the pattern I have demonstrated, in 30 minutes of research you can gather enough to very effectively keep your contents fresh without it becoming a burden. Before a topic is fully explored (age appropriately) or interest wanes you would add another topic. making a volcano erupt making volcano model

kids studying about rocks and crystals

3. You can blend both of these approaches. On some days your child many engage with a random item from The Spark Station. They may ask for more information about it or not; or they may choose to be fully engaged with one topic of learning that you have provided for days before switching to something else.

The approach you use will depend on your family and your current situation. If you have just had a new baby, are in the process of moving, or all your children are under six or you are new to home school, option one may serve you best for a time. If your children are all over eight then option two may be just the thing. With families of many mixed ages and busy moms option three would work well.

I loved a beautiful blog by Andee Martineau. It has some fabulous pictures of her Spark Station both before and after. She has a unique approach to her Spark Station’s use. She has a morning bookcase with all of their “normal’ school stuff”, which is used in the a.m. hours. Then in the afternoon they have another “’Structured Learning Time” when The Spark Station is available. As Andee said, “It will help us change gears, be 100% present with each other, learn a little more about something that interests us, do a project we’ve been putting off, play a game together, or do whatever else we find in the magical Spark Station.”

home schooling different ages

The Martineau’s

There are many ways to implement The Spark Station. The important thing to remember about this tool, The Spark Station, is that the principles which make it work, the Five Rules of Engagement, are more important than The Spark Station content or the approach that you choose.

Andee gets that! She understands that Spark Station content, although important, always takes second place to the Five Rules of engagement. Children love consistency, structure and our presence. They love having time with family and knowing that parents are planning ahead. “Please can we open the Spark Station??!!!”, the Martineau children.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kimberly October 14, 2010 at 3:10 am

Fabulous advise! I need to remember to take something OUT.. 🙂


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